It’s time for a post commending our small pool of trusted readers, who are in no small way responsible for buoying our literary vessel. These magnificent humans render thoughtful judgments on thousands of submissions each year. They have children to raise, medical conditions that require myriad unguents, rude neighbors who sneak out at night to pee on their lawns—and still they read on. Below are some examples of their considered critiques. Thank you, volunteers and satellite readers, for your generous service.
—I found a lot of things about the premise, character, and form surprising. This one felt fresh, though there were some areas where the language was a little clumsy, and the moment of change seems sudden. I think it could be expanded.
—The writing takes us right up to the point where the story should start. Then it ends.
—Strong, unexpected images. Unique voice. Deserves another read.
—This story is beautifully written; it also has much more of a sense of its own language & the power of that language than it does of the story’s moving parts. As an experiment, it’s engaging, even stirring; as a story, it’s somewhat less. The writer is clearly quite talented, though.
—The poet has the ability to move from outer space to a tight close-up in some of the poems, and when it works, it’s a pretty ride.
—I enjoyed the energy and imagination with which the poet approached her subject matter. There is a tension dug into in these lyrics that evokes what is learned and lost in growing up.
—Complex and moving. I love this one. Engages timely issues with deft handling. The description goes on for awhile, but it’s interesting how the dynamics shift as they go.
—This story is not terribly original, and the beginning and end aren’t quite right, but the writing is good throughout. Perhaps someone to watch?
—A pretty good story here. Quiet. Sensitively envisioned.
—An accomplished poet. Many of these didn’t grab me but were technically sophisticated. They are worth another read.
—Sketches of somewhat stereotypical characters. All in summary and description, no scenes. It doesn’t hold together as a cohesive whole.